(Points + Rebounds + Steals + ½Assists + ½Blocked Shots – Field Goal Attempts – Turnovers - ½Free Throw Attempts - ½Personal Fouls) / Minutes = Win Score per Minute

Friday, June 15, 2007

Finals MVP?

The season's over, with the San Antonio Spurs once again at the top of the basketball world, having proven once again that fundamental basketball, while less aesthetically pleasing to some, is still the way to win a championship. Or having proven that you must have a dominant big man to win a championship. Or that defense wins championships. Or whatever.

The point is that the season is over, and with it go any new stats for us to study. Our last gasp before the summer is to look at Finals MVP. It went to Tony Parker this year, marking the first time that Tim Duncan has been in the Finals and not won the MVP. He probably deserved it, if only for all the crowd shots of Eva Longoria he gave us. Let's take a quick look at the top contenders on the Spurs.

Tony Parker
Game 1: PAWS 1, PAWSmin 0.026
Game 2: PAWS 6.2, PAWSmin 0.174
Game 3: PAWS -3.6, PAWSmin -0.094
Game 4: PAWS 5.9, PAWSmin 0.150
Total: PAWS 9.5, PAWSmin 0.063

Tim Duncan
Game 1: PAWS 10.8, PAWSmin 0.278
Game 2: PAWS 5.5, PAWSmin 0.153
Game 3: PAWS -3, PAWSmin -0.090
Game 4: PAWS -4.9, PAWSmin -0.122
Total: PAWS 8.4, PAWSmin 0.056

Manu Ginobili
Game 1: PAWS 3.9, PAWSmin 0.140
Game 2: PAWS 9.4, PAWSmin 0.336
Game 3: PAWS -7, PAWSmin -0.258
Game 4: PAWS 2.3, PAWSmin 0.069
Total: PAWS 8.6, PAWSmin 0.074

If you at this in terms of Position-Adjusted Win Score per minute, then the surprising winner is Manu Ginobili, who's fantastic Game 2 canceled out his horrific Game 3, and he was consistently good in the other two games to garner a PAWSmin of 0.074. Manu consistently plays about 10 minutes less than Duncan and Parker, however. So the MVP in terms of overall Win Score is Tony Parker.

Parker really played better in these four games than his season average. His PAWSmin for the entire year, regular season and postseason stands at 0.027, good but not great. But he stepped up in the Finals (or, possibly, he was helped by the fact that the Cavaliers had no one who could stay in front of him). Either way, Parker had a good series. His Game 3 was poor, but he played well in Game 1, and was fantastic in both games 2 and 4. Looks like the voters got it right, and your Finals MVP is Tony Parker. Congratulations again to him and the Spurs.

As for this blog and the Win Score Stats site, we'll be taking a posting hiatus and working on programming over the summer. If you check this site from time to time over the summer, you'll probably see the occasional post commenting on some upgrade to the stats site, and I may post some analysis if I get bored. Please have us bookmarked for next year, however. I have a lot of upgrades planned, including being able to search through past years' stats.

Now is the time to leave ideas and requests for the stats site. I still have some previous comments stashed away that I plan on doing, but you are welcome to rehash old requests, or post any new ideas you have for next year. Again, thanks for all the support. Enjoy the summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Domain name issues

I'm not sure how many of you are using the new address for the Win Score Stats site, "winsproduced.com", but just FYI there will be some changes happening there in the next few days and also in the coming weeks. I'm moving that address to a new internet host, so it may not be working for the next few days. However, you can still access everything at www.jasonchandler.com/basketball. After I get settled in at the new host, I'll be moving all the jasonchandler.com stuff permanently over to winsproduced.com. I'll leave a redirect in there, but at that time all links should point to winsproduced.com. I'll keep everyone updated further as things change. Thanks for all the support.

P.S. Can you guys think of anything interesting to talk about concerning this NBA finals? Because I'm stumped.

Monday, June 4, 2007

No, seriously, these are the REAL top 10 players in the NBA

Saw a story on Digg titled "The 'Real' Top 10 Players In The NBA". It got a lot of comments, both positive and negative. Decided to do a post on "seriously, the real top 10 players". Tried to back up my position with some facts and figures. Let's see how it turned out.

** This is an aside to anyone who hasn't heard of Win Score or Wins Produced **

Wins Produced and Win Score are a new way to evaluate NBA players. It focuses on trying to figure out which players contribute the most to their team wins. For in-depth discussion, please see the "Wages of Wins" blog or buy the book (Yeah that's an affiliate link!).

Basically, Win Score is (Points + Rebounds + Steals + ½Assists + ½Blocked Shots – Field Goal Attempts – Turnovers - ½Free Throw Attempts - ½Personal Fouls). Wins Produced is a more complicated formula, but they correspond very closely with each other. In other words, Win Score approximates Wins Produced. I'll be using Win Score for my evaluations. An "average" NBA player will produce a "position-adjusted" Win Score (PAWS) of zero.

A common way to look at Win Score is Position-Adjusted Win Score per minute, or PAWSmin. For a quick and dirty check, 0.050 is good, 0.100 is great, and 0.150 is fantastic.

** Done with aside **

Now, the easy way to do this would be to point everyone to the list of Win Score stats by player, and say, "Order this page by PAWS, and you've got your top 10". So you can avoid the click if you want, here is that quick list:

NamePosition-Adjusted Win Score
1. Jason Kidd637.3
2. Shawn Marion562.6
3. Carlos Boozer490.6
4. Tim Duncan468.7
5. Kevin Garnett461.3
6. Marcus Camby421.4
7. Steve Nash406.3
8. Dwight Howard362.7
9. Dirk Nowitzki359.0
10. Amare Stoudemire350.9

* Couple quick caveats, I'm using position adjustments from 82games.com, and all numbers are for this year only, regular and postseason combined.

If you want, you can just stop reading now and start complaining. I'll get you started: "Marcus Camby sixth? What are you smoking?" or "How is Carlos Boozer ahead of Tim Duncan? You're out of your mind!"

Now we all know that no single statistic is perfect. And no single person's opinion is perfect. So I'll now combine my opinions with the Win Score statistic to achieve something even less perfect than either one separately. But hopefully I'll make some good points and inform you, if not actually entertain you.

My list of the REAL top 10 players in the NBA (this year) (so far)

1. Tim Duncan - yes, this is the safe and boring pick. But it's true! I defy anyone to make a coherent argument against Tim Duncan. Without mentioning free throws. OK, he has one weakness. But even his Achilles' heel isn't as bad as Shaq's. He scores well, rebounds well, blocks shots, is an excellent help defender, has good hands, passes well, has great court vision, and is the most patient man on the court. He'll run three pick and rolls, get the interior pass, post up his man, wait for the double team, fake a pass, lull his defender to sleep, and then bank one off the glass. Twenty-two seconds of defense, and you still get schooled. That's Tim Duncan. Total Position Adjusted Win Score: 468.7 Position Adjusted Win Score per minute: 0.142

Vitals: 3 championships.....probably the 4th on the way. End of discussion.

2. Shawn Marion - yes, he has no titles. But there is not a more complete player in the NBA. He shoots 52%, rebounds exceptionally for a 6'7" combo forward. Steals, blocks, free throws, 3-pointers, you name it, this cat does it. Does it well. He's a seriously underrated defender as well, often guarding 6'9" or 6'10" power forwards in the Suns' small ball lineup. Does Nash make him better? Yeah, but he's gonna be good anyway. Total PAWS: 562.6 PAWSmin: 0.164

Vitals: Good at everything.....one of 3 players in the league to have more steals than turnovers (min. 100 steals)

3. Jason Kidd - yes, he can't shoot. But he is likely the best NBA player ever...who couldn't shoot. But he does everything else to make the people around him and his team better. Runs an offense better than almost anyone, pinpoint passing accuracy. Rebounds like a power forward. This is not exaggeration. His rebounds per 48 minutes are equal to Rasheed Wallace and Alonzo Mourning. It's a shame that the third-best player on his team is apparently Richard Jefferson. Total PAWS: 637.3 PAWSmin: 0.184

Vitals: 34 years old, but still brings it.....did I mention that he averaged a triple-double in the playoffs?

4. Kevin Garnett - yes, his team stinks. But I still believe when God created the perfect basketball player, it was Kevin Garnett. He's big, intimidating, smart, has a fierce desire to win, and probably scares the bejeebers out of most of the people he meets. This was a down year for him, and he still lead the league in rebounding. Plus he shoots his free throws well, and passes well. Total PAWS: 461.3 PAWSmin: 0.152

Vitals: Stats were way down this season, still fantastic.....if the Jazz don't at least try to trade Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur for Garnett, I'm gonna cry myself to sleep.

5. Steve Nash - yes, he's not a good defender. But he makes up for it in so many ways. He shoots 52 percent, and that's for a guard who doesn't get tons of layups. His assist numbers are inflated by Phoenix's pace, but would probably still be tops in the league on a slower team. And Nash is money from the free throw line. Total PAWS: 406.3 PAWSmin: 0.132

Vitals: Best fast breaks in the league.....I never would have placed him this high with last year's greasy hair.

6. Dirk Nowitzki - yes, he's not mean enough, but some guys just aren't. Look, we need to stop with the Larry Bird stuff. He's tall, he's white, he has really bad hair. Whatever. Dirk has grown into a top-shelf player. He has one of the prettiest shots in the league, he's a good passer and dribbler, especially for a guy his size. Sure, he is the leader of his team, and shouldn't have let the Warriors get the best of them. But he wasn't the only Maverick to have trouble in that series. Total PAWS: 359.0 PAWSmin: 0.117

Vitals: 90% at the free throw line.....Hasslehoff issues holding him back

7. Carlos Boozer - yes, he's not a great defender, but did you watch the man play this year? Although Boozer was #3 according to Win Score, I had to move him down a bit because of below average defense and because his rebounding totals may be a tiny bit inflated from playing with a center that likes the perimeter. However, the Jazz were possibly the best-rebounding team in the league this year, and Boozer was a big part of that, along with his 55% shooting and interior passing skills. Total PAWS: 490.6 PAWSmin: 0.153

Vitals: First full year back after major injuries, he's only getting better.....can you imagine if the Cavs still had him?

8. LeBron James - yes, he's only 22, but he's already deserving to be up here with the best. After the last week, is there anything left to say about LeBron? He can do anything and everything that he puts his mind to. If he had some more decent teammates, Mike Brown could afford to sit him for more than a minute or two a game, and would probably get the same output from him at 40 minutes a game that he gets at 46 minutes a game. Total PAWS: 326.0 PAWSmin: 0.083

Vitals: My vote is to call Game 5 "LeBron's 25 straight".....his "old LeBron" character kills me every time.

9. Kobe Bryant - yes, he's a "me first" player, but sometimes he has to be. If the clock is winding down and you absolutely need two points, is there anyone else you'd give the ball to? But it's not just his scoring, Bryant has improved his game a hundred times since he was a rookie. If there's anything to bring him down some, it's that he has a low assist to turnover rate for someone who handles the ball as much as he does (1.57 to 1). Somebody get this man a point guard. Total PAWS: 286.7 PAWSmin: 0.085

Vitals: 81 points in one game, unbelievable.....guy has some need for attention problems

10. Manu Ginobili - yes, he's a flopper, but the rest of his game is too good to get bogged down in that. The Spurs are not a one-horse team. As the Jazz found out, you can find ways to slow down Duncan, but if you do, Manu will make you pay. After Kobe and LeBron, he's the most deadly scorer in the league who's range goes from the 3-point line to the basket. Total PAWS: 327.6 PAWSmin: 0.130

Vitals: Supremely difficult matchup at shooting guard.....Like Nash, I'd probably move him up if he cut his hair, the bald spot is too much

Honorable Mentions: There were a number of centers in the top range of Win Score that I chose to move down for various reasons. Marcus Camby has yet to play a full season of 82 games (although if the Nuggets trade him for Kwame Brown, which is rumored, they will regret it for a long time). Dwight Howard needs to learn to hold onto the ball better. Amare needs defensive work and was outrebounded by a guy who is 6'7". Tyson Chandler needs to take a few more shots. And then there's David Lee. If he puts up the same numbers he has now when he's playing 3000 minutes a year, I will absolutely put him on this list. Only Jason Kidd can match Lee's PAWSmin of 0.184.

As for the other's on that other guy's list (Yes, I understand his list was made before the year began):
Dwyane Wade: Year cut short by injury, low assist-to-turnover ratio
Paul Pierce: Started out great this year, too inconsistent, few rebounds for a swingman
Elton Brand: Doesn't rebound enough for a PF/C
Shaquille O'Neal: Free throws, turnovers, really? You need to ask?

OK, 1700 some-odd words, I feel like I'm creeping into Gregg Easterbook territory here. If you enjoyed this article, please show your support by digging it (you'll want to be on the specific article page, not the blog front page).

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Top Playoff Performances

A list of the top playoff performances has been requested, and I am nothing if not ready to please the masses. So I threw up a quick and dirty page that recreates the "Every Game, Every Player" page, but just for the playoffs. You can check that out here. That page will update along with the rest of the site for the remaining games in the playoffs. For those that just want the top 10 figured out and displayed for them, I've created a spreadsheet that shows the top in PAWS and PAWSmin.

There are a few interesting things to mention about this.

1) If your team made the playoffs, but doesn't have a good point guard and doesn't make a play to trade for Jason Kidd, then your GM might need to find a different line of work. Yeah, if you are rebuilding, then a few years of Kidd won't create a championship. But if you are team in the playoffs, that wants to make a run in the next two years (Rockets? Lakers? Heat? Magic?), you've got to at least give it a shot and see if its possible. The guy continues to play amazingly well.

2) Andrei Kirilenko's big game came the same day that Deron Williams posted the worst win score of any player during these playoffs. He, along with Fisher, Boozer and Millsap, managed to win the game, even with a horrible performance from their point guard.

3) Every game in the list was won by the team with the best player. Not too surprising, but we've seen regular season games where one player was incredible, but the team lost the game. Having the best player on the floor seems to be important in playoff games.

4) LeBron's 48 points is not on the list. He garnered a 19 Win Score for the game and an 11.2 PAWS. However, I bet if we did a list of top second half Win Scores, his would probably be right at the top. It does show one interesting thing though. Stats are great for evaluating games and showing you what happened while you weren't watching. But they certainly are no substitute for watching the game. Even the most devout stat man would have to admit that Game 5 was one of the most impressive performances they've ever seen in their life, whether or not the stats say so.

It will be interesting to see if LeBron can keep up his improved play against the defense of the San Antonio Spurs. Detroit was supposed to be a defensive juggernaut, but I never saw the kind of intensity from them that I saw throughout the entire Spurs-Jazz series.

It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm sure David Stern breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw it wouldn't be a Spurs-Pistons finals. It will be a great contrast. The disciplined, smart, steady Spurs against the athletic (except for Big Z), freewheeling and fun Cavs. I can't possibly think of a way that Cleveland wins this series, but I am rooting for them. Who knows? If Gibson can keep up his recent play, if Ilgauskas can pester Duncan into bad shots, if Varejao's hair can distract Manu Ginobili....well you just never know. And that's why it's fun.

We have a winner!.......well, almost

For those still interested, let's take a quick look at the fantasy game and see if anyone has a chance to catch obreck3 at this point. Here are the scores after the conference finals:

obreck3 - 2083
momotiki - 2015
aomcgill - 2014.5
jchan - 2014.5
huey - 1952.5
jlewis44 - 1941
mike - 1936
amarishnu - 1918.5
tlarkin - 1871
jasonyiin - 1716
drock113 - 1620

The top is relatively unchanged, but there has been big shakeup in the second half of the group, as jlewis44 has shot up three places in the standings and is threating fifth place as we speak. As for players left, we've got the following:

Everybody's got Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and LeBron James, so those that only have those three (me, aomcgill, amarishnu, and "curse your half point" momotiki) have nowhere to go but down.

Huey, tlarkin and drock113 have Drew Gooden in addition to the three. Mike has Tony Parker. Obreck has, unfortunately for the rest of us, Parker and Gooden, and has pretty much sewn up this contest. The only one with even a tiny chance of winning is jlewis44. Jlewis44 and jasonyiin both have Parker, Gooden and Anderson Varejao, and Jlewis is currently ahead of jasonyiin. So unless Varejao surprises us all and goes for 143 Win Score in the Finals (he has 82.5 so far in the playoffs), looks like your champion is Obreck3. You might want to be thinking of what special link you'd like to have as your fantastic grand prize. Another thanks to all those who played...please leave suggestions of how to make this better come next season.